Mark Cuban was Wrong and Facebook is Right

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CMark ubanMany of us have lost our way. It took the Mark Cuban/Facebook story to help me realize it.

Here’s where I’m coming from…

Essentially, Cuban was pissed that he (or the Dallas Mavericks to be specific) would have to now pay a fee per Facebook update – to ensure all that all a brand’s community would see their post. Cuban was upset that he’d have to pay for a platform that was previously free. Now, it’s true that a brand’s updates weren’t previously being seen by a number of its “Likers”, and Cuban did follow-up with an article in the HP further explaining his position on Facebook.

But the key take-aways were that this was a grab for money to increase shareholder value, and that Facebook was decreasing in importance vs. other social sites.

I agreed. I saw this as a clear stab at driving some revenue for Facebook. It made sense. I had also had discussions with friends/contacts about Facebook’s standing in a basic social media strategy – and Facebook fatigue.

Cuban’s opinion made sense to me – it gave me the feeling that my internal Facebook criticisms and client advice that I was giving was not in isolation. I felt validated because I think that Cuban is a pretty smart and successful guy (NBA Championships and billions of dollars tend to prove this).

That lasted a while – but then I realized that I had broken my own rule. Keep social media social.

Here was a major sports brand – upset that it would have to pay (and quite a bit per post I will add) to reach its entire Facebook fan base. I had previously blogged about keeping social media social, that this was not your website – but the fans’ space, that by prioritizing brand posts over fan content was basically a bad idea. If you want to broadcast – use your website. Especially if you are the Dallas Mavericks. Keep Facebook a “fans first” environment. I realized that I had lost sight of this.

Facebook charging a fee (that all your community will see)  per post is good thing – if you struggled for clear sponsorship cost justification, that problem is now solved for you (remember of course, keep sponsored content engaging and fun). This is your fans’ space – not yours, so treat it appropriately. Facebook never should have been the core of your digital strategy – you don’t own it and you can’t control it. If you are overly concerned about your content being seen, you are missing the point of Facebook.

Take this as a reminder – as I did. Use Facebook for what it does best – a daily opportunity to connect with your fans. Talk with them, feature their content, keep Facebook a place for and about them. Be smart about what content you do feature, either sponsored or your own. Don;t forget where you came from in social media – and keep it social, will ya?

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